Positive Leadership: The Staff Series “Authenticity”

September 30, 2016

What is authenticity? In his book The Positive Organization, Professor Robert Quinn of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business describes authentic as “true, accurate, genuine, real, valid, reliable, and dependable…The authentic person finds and expresses his or her best self. It is a self that has purpose, integrity, empathy, and openness to learning. It is a self that causes conversations and relationships to change.” One of the people attending the Positive Leadership Series for staff describes their response to “authenticity” below.

1. Before you attended the sessions, what did you think you were going to gain from them?

I had general, basic knowledge about Positive Organizational Scholarship, but I was very interested in finding out about the tools to be a more positive leader and how that can trickle down within an organization.

2. How would you explain/describe the experience of attending these sessions to a close friend or family member?

The sessions made us dig deep within ourselves, which I didn’t expect at all. We were asked to think about who we are and the importance of living life with a purpose – and how that relates to happiness. These sessions were a life-changer! 

I started to think about being a better person and how to be my authentic self. Consequently, I started following Professor Robert Quinn’s blog. I also resonated with thriving in life and how I could incorporate that principle into my daily routine.

3. What did you take away and how do you see yourself applying what you learned into your everyday life?

It is perfectly okay to be you and to keep growing as a person. I want to work toward being a stronger employee, mother sister, and wife. This research puts all of this into a perspective of how to live life with purpose and with authenticity.

4. What constitutes a positive work environment?

A positive work environment is one that is collaborative, not only in each department but across the entire School. When people enjoy what they do, they complain a whole lot less. This culture is overseen by leaders (and bosses) who understand what you as an individual do and why it is important to the mission of the School and the University. Acknowledgement is sincere and shown often.


As we sat at different tables each week, it was a wonderful way to connect with colleagues from all across Ross. The experience for me was personal, real, and a life-changer!

If you would like to discover how to be a more effective and positive leader, we highly recommend that you read the book How to Be a Positive Leader: Small Actions, Big Impact, edited by Jane E. Dutton and Gretchen M. Spreitzer.

Positive Leadership: The Staff Series is a group of interviews capturing staff reflections after participating in the Positive Leadership Workshops.